Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby apologizes for suggesting that the impact of climate change will be worse than Nazi genocide.
Welby, the most senior cleric in the Church of England and leader of the worldwide Anglican communion, made the comments in an interview with the BBC at the COP26 summit in Glasgow.
He said that national leaders will be “cursed” if they do not achieve the goal of the United Nations summit of urgently finding concrete ways to stabilize global warming.
Politicians who fail at this task will be spoken of by future generations “in far stronger terms than we speak today of the politicians of the (19)30s, of the politicians who ignored what was happening in Nazi Germany,” he said.
He added that this is because climate change “will kill people all around the world for generations” and “allow a genocide on an infinitely greater scale” that will “come back to us or to our children and grandchildren.”
Welby, a former oil executive before becoming a man of the cloth, later apologizes for offending Jewish people with the Holocaust analogy.
“I unequivocally apologise for the words I used when trying to emphasise the gravity of the situation facing us at COP26,” he tweets. “It’s never right to make comparisons with the atrocities brought by the Nazis, and I’m sorry for the offence caused to Jews by these words.”
A spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson says of the comments: “It is up to individuals how they choose to frame the problem.”
Stephen Pollard, editor of The Jewish Chronicle newspaper, reacts furiously to Welby’s comments, tweeting that they are “so sickening that I simply cannot comprehend how Welby can remain as a priest, let alone Archbishop.”
He later relents, saying the archbishop made “a proper apology, not mealy-mouthed.”